January 9th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Bumper Sticker

There’s only one thing that can knock weather off the headlines: Traffic. The media has provided so much coverage of the extensive and entertaining Chris Christie traffic jam press conference that I half-expected him to introduce a new iPhone. Christie apologized and fired his deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly who, along with other “close associates ordered lane closings on the George Washington Bridge to deliberately snarl traffic as an act of political vengeance.”

+ “I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.” The eleven best quotes from the Christie’s press conference.

+ When David Wildstein got an email that read, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” he responded with two words: “Got it.” Today, he was far less loquacious while being questioned by a New Jersey state assembly panel.

+ Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith argues that the bridge scandal is even worse than it seems: “Politicians don’t get that many moments in the national spotlight … And now, if anyone knows anything about Chris Christie, it’s that he closed a bridge.” I wouldn’t be so sure about this. The presidential election is a long way off. About the only person who doesn’t still have time to repair his image is Dennis Rodman.

+ MoJo: Match the political scandal to the apology.


Inside the Mine

“As with an actual precious metal, Bitcoins are in limited supply- they must be mined. Unlike with precious metals, this mining is done purely by computer. Miners set their machines to run a series of complex calculations that tally up and certify all the transactions of other Bitcoin holders around the world. If the miner’s computers complete these calculations and solve a complex mathematical puzzle before anyone else, he earns about 25 Bitcoins as payment.” From BloombergBusinessweek: The Bitcoin-Mining Arms Race Heats Up.

+ Overstock is now accepting Bitcoins.


Going Back to Cali

According to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “food companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in 2012 than they did in 2007.” Following a pledge, sixteen large food companies have cut about 78 daily calories per person from their products. Sounds like a good excuse to add a little whipped cream to everything.


The Seven Year Itch

Seven years ago today, Steve Jobs took the stage and introduced us all to something called an iPhone. It’ll never take off.


Nobody’s Playground

A 10 year-old girl was given a suicide vest and told that it would only kill her targets — she would survive. A 15 year-old named Aitzaz Hasan was killed after confronting a suicide bomber who approached his school in Pakistan. Two kids. Two terrible stories.


Writing on Roids

“I think so many guys were just irritated how prevalent the problem had become. They just wanted that out there.” Baseball writers just picked the latest players to get into the Hall of Fame. The selection story — like so many in baseball — has been dominated by questions over how to handle the steroid issue. These are the questions that have haunted the sport, and those who cover it, for decades. Grantland’s Bryan Curtis looks back at the writers and the ‘roids: The Steroid Hunt.


Money Laundering

Governments around the world shred tons of money every year because its been irreparably damaged by our greedy, greasy, grubby, grimy hands. But now scientists say that they can help save a lot of the money by washing it. It’s a whole new way to launder money.


Training for Gold

“When people ask me how it feels, the best way I can describe it is to say go and do a wall-sit for 10 minutes and then stand up. That’s how it feels.” Eddy Alvarez gives us a glimpse into the training required to be an Olympic athlete.


Me, Myselfie, and I

Surprise. According to new research: “Narcissism does appear to be a primary driver for the desire for (Twitter) followers, which in turn drives tweets.” (I can’t wait until they test newsletter writers…)

+ The strange science of how your name can shape your career.


The Bottom of the News

Last year, NPR’s Bob Boilen saw a lot of live music. And I mean a lot: 662 shows, 549 bands,139 clubs, 21 cities. So he’s one of the few people on the planet qualified to write a piece on his 116 Favorite Concerts Of 2013.

+ These days, many Americans can’t recognize a top news anchor.

+ Twenty years later, McDonald’s faces a new hot coffee lawsuit.

+ Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao has the best business card in the world. And thanks to Slate, you can now generate one of your own.

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